Usually thieves go for cash and valuables, but three men from Rajasthan decided grocery items from stores in the city and nearby areas was their thing.
Lacking the capital to fulfil their dream of setting up a grocery shop after arriving in the city two years ago, they decided to target stores already in the line to build up stock for their future business.
They confessed all this after their arrest on Tuesday night, and the police said two four-wheelers and a motorcycle were also recovered from them.
Investigations revealed that the vehicles were stolen from different areas in the city and were used to ferry away the stolen grocery items.
The police said the arrested men, Rajesh Jaygopal Thakur (25), Prabhuram Patel (30) and Belaram Patel, were living in Bhosari.
The police said in the past few months the three had targeted as many as seven grocery shops in the city and made away with dry fruits, edible oil, soaps, pulses, toothbrush, cosmetics and the like.
Their luck ran out when they were arrested by officials of the Vishrantwadi police station while preparing to strike at a grocery shop on Alandi Road.
“The accused had come to the city two years ago and wanted to start a grocery shop, but they could not do so as they did not have the capital to start the business,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone IV) Sanjay Jadhav said. “Later they started targeting big grocery shops, making away with the grocery items from the stores.”
Jadhav said the accused would use the stolen vehicles to transport the booty from grocery stores to Saswad, where they had taken a room on rent to keep the stolen goods. Police Inspector Motichand Rathod said the trio also used the cars to break open the shutters of grocery stores with an ingenious trick.
“They used to attach a big rope to the shutter of the shop and pull at the rope with the car so that the shutter would break,” Rathod said. Police Sub-Inspector Sachin Kale of the detection branch said the accused were fully equipped with the tools of their trade.
“We have also recovered chilly powder, a crowbar, a big rope, three cutters and two big knives from their possession,” Kale said. “With these items, they used to target the grocery shops in the city.”
Kale said the police were acting on a tip-off when they arrested the three. “On Tuesday night, we got a tip-off that these three were in preparation to burgle a grocery shop on Alandi Road and laid a trap to arrest them,” Kale said. During interrogation, all three confessed to the crimes they had committed.
12 cases solved
Kale said with the arrest of the three, the police solved a dozen cases of burglary and vehicle theft that had occurred in various parts of the city.
The trio were arrested under Sections 399 (preparation of burglary), 402 (assembling for purpose of committing dacoity) and 34 (common intention).
They were produced in court and remanded in police custody till August 3. The team that cracked the burglary cases comprised of PSI Kale and Constables Vijaysinh Patil, Steven Sundaram, Ravindra Rathod, Pravin Dale, Bhivsen Sandbhor, Prashant Jadhav, Uttam Kadam, Ajit Ladake and Pramod Ghadage.